I too had decided not to have an epidural as the needle in the back sounded to me like worse than the labour. Little did i know.
When my contractions started the pain was so excrutiating. In the movies, women are able to scream, swear, breath in, breath out etc All I could do was just collapse in my husband's arms and in between contractions it seems the only words i could get out were "rub harder" on my lower back that was. And he would ask me with a shocked look "Harder??" and i'd scream YES!
When eventually I was exhausted and felt that couldnt go on anymore I was fainting and they kept trying to keep me alert, someone mentioned an epidural. Lucky for me the anaesthetist was on site because it can take a while before they can be contacted and come in to the hospital. When she read the risks associated with this, the words didnt even register. Someone from another post mentioned she loved her anaesthitist well to me she was like an angel from above. Funny thing was that the most painful part of the epidural was the alcohol they put on my lower back to sterilise the area, this was due to my skin on my lower back being severley broken from my husband's rubbing but i hadnt even felt this at all.. Anyway needless to say after that i was saying things like " i am feeling a little uncomfortable" and the doctor on the monitor would tell me that I was having a contraction. What a difference!!! I would recommend the epidural as a last resort but even beforehand remember only you yourself will know at the time.
The baby's position is what caused the severe contractions. It was coming out face first!! This is not so common but it can certainly happen. My baby was delivered in the end with forceps and they gave me an episiotomy but i also tore, was very close to 3rd degree tearing.
I havent felt as yet any side effects from the epidural, sometimes I can get a headache but nothing too painful. My back hurts at times but i think thats due to me carrying my sweet 10kg baby around.
My advise to anyone who is pregnant is just to keep your options and your mind open for when the time comes!!!
Good luck to all the mummies to be and hope that your labours are a breeze.
You will soon see how Motherhood is the most beautiful thing in the world, I want another baby soon but my husband wants to wait, oh well, will keep persisiting ....wink
helena- vic- ds-3.5 dd- 1